The man picked to replace disgraced New York Rep. Vito Fossella in the upcoming congressional race died in his sleep Sunday, The Staten Island Advance reported.

Frank Powers Sr., 67, a retired Wall Street executive unanimously endorsed by the local GOP to run in November in Fossella's place, was found dead by his wife in his bed.

A millionaire philanthropist, he had planned to tap into $500,000 of his own fortune to run for the seat that he had helped Fossella win. Fossella announced he would step down after a drunken driving arrest led to the discovery that he had a mistress in Washington, D.C., and a child out of wedlock.

Craig Eaton, the Kings County GOP chairman, issued a statement to local media.

"I have not known Frank Powers long, but since I met him, I found him to be a man of great integrity, drive and determination and since the day he accepted the nomination he has been working vigilantly to move his congressional campaign forward," Eaton said. "My prayers go out to his wife and family at this time of loss."

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